MLB

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo leads charge to support badly beaten student

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo juggles during the team's photo day Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo juggles during the team's photo day Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A tweet, that’s all it was. A retweet of an on-line article from ABC 7 Chicago that said, “South Elgin boy, 12, out of coma, after allegedly beaten by classmate.”

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said this:

Henry Sembdner’s father, also named Henry, did not see the tweet. At the time, the elder Sembdner did not have a Twitter account. A friend called him and said, “Did you see this?”

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One-hundred thirty-six characters, that’s all it was — Rizzo sent his initial tweet with four characters to spare. And then, 29 minutes later on Feb. 6, he followed with this:

Rizzo, 27, kept his word the next day, retweeting a series of photos from elementary, middle-school and high-school students in South Elgin, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago.

And he plans to keep his word to Henry about the visit to Wrigley, too; his foundation, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, already has made contact with the Sembdner family.

“It’s in the works,” Rizzo said Saturday. “We hopefully will get him to Wrigley as soon as we can.”

The story horrified Rizzo, just was it would horrify any person with a conscience.

On Feb. 3, officials from Kenyon Woods Middle School told parents that a student physically assaulted another student and left him severely beaten.

That student was Henry, a seventh grader who turns 13 on Friday. He suffered brain and skull injuries, requiring doctors to place him in an induced coma.

Rizzo, who was home in Parkland, Florida, said he became aware of the news through social media.

“For him the way that happened, from the story I’ve heard and read, it just was terrible, Rizzo said.

Rizzo sent out his tweets on Feb. 6. Henry was released from the hospital the next day. But his recovery is only beginning.

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